The decision about who you need to attend a meeting depends on what you want to accomplish in the meeting. This may seem too obvious to state, but it's surprising how many meetings occur without the right people there.
This can result either in people not committing to come to further meetings (if it is a group that is supposed to be meeting regularly) or not completing their actions because they do not feel the benefit of the meeting.
On the other hand if you don't have the right people at the meeting then you may have to seek them out after the meeting to get their input or sign-off and this becomes a duplication of work.
You should have everyone needed present at the meeting and you need to ensure that everyone who attends understands why they are there and finds the meeting interesting and relevant.
Here are some tips about how to make sure you have the right people at meetings:
- Don't depend on your own judgment about who should come; ask several other people for their opinion as well.
- If possible, call each person to tell them about the meeting, it's overall purpose and why their attendance is important.
- Follow-up your call with a meeting notice including: the purpose of the meeting, where it will be held and when, the list of participants and whom to contact if they have questions.
- Send out a copy of the proposed agenda along with the meeting notice.
- Ensure there is a designated person to record important actions, assignments and due dates during the meeting. This person should ensure that this information is distributed to all participants shortly after the meeting.
- If the group meets regularly then inbetween meetings make sure you keep in touch with all participants and constantly seek their feedback to ensure the meetings continue to be of relevance for them.
If people lose interest in your meetings then you may lose their input for that meeting – but crucially you may also lose their imput from other meetings because they may begin to associate all of your meetings as being irrelevant to them.
Having the right people is one part of the challenge – making sure you have the right agenda follows.
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